Showing posts from August, 2006

New Wine, Old Wineskins....

Being an all-converts-all-the-time parish (no wait, there's that russian lady and her mother who come now, and all the kids we've had...)...OK, mostly-all-converts-mostly-all-the-time...we all bring our experiences from various backgrounds into Orthodoxy with us.

One of those things is Sunday School. We have a wonderful Sunday School in our parish. We love our kids. We have piles of them too. We not only want to teach them at home, we want to teach them at Church. And we do. Dedicated teachers, brilliant Sunday School know the drill.

But something is niggling on my mind. And it is this: When Sunday School starts at 9 a.m. (and it IS alot of work), and the Divine Liturgy does not start until 10 a.m. (and it is also alot of work) it really really reduces the number of people who can effectively fully participate in the pre-eucharistic fast. (Not that it's really any of my business, so I'm speaking of myself here.) 10 am DL with a half a day's…

This one's not a joke!

I rediscovered a really cool website this morning:

It is full of plain down-home good sense/cents, money saving menus and lookit, folks, the $45.00 menu (complete pantry for a family of 4, family of six modifications brings it up to a whopping $51.00) looks remarkably (almost) lenten. I'll fess up and admit that it's more lenten than anything ever seen around here, that's for sure.

Now, I'm wondering how this would modify for health issues, etc. but I'm thinking it's time to have another stab at eating legumes. As time goes by, my hypoglycemia is improving along with the general improvements in my fibro and much that at one time I attributed to hypoglycemia MIGHT have been reactions to peanuts (might, maybe, some not all). I just have to experiment and find out...perhaps the hard way.

Anyways, anyone interested in seriously cheap eats, I recommend this site. Not only does she provide menu plans, but also shopping lists, and daily fo…

New Cook book!


Beyond Free Range: Wheat-free, Gluten-free, Soy Free, Nut free, Peanut Free, Shellfish free Low Carb lenten recipes for hard core Orthodox Christians with special dietary needs

Table of content:

1. How to boil water

How to boil water:

turn spigot
fill pot (preferably clean)
set pot on stove
turn heat on high
Observe bubbles.
Remove from heat.
Blow to cool.
sip slowly so you don't burn your lips and tongue.

Happy dining!

Recipe variation for Weekends during lent: skip the blowing part.

Book Reviews:

--(submitted by recently converted mom of 4): "Well, this am I?"

--(submitted by Commandoconvert): "This book rocks, man! Even I can cook these recipes! I especially like the weekend variation, man! And I don't even have any food allergies, man! I just wanna take things to that higher level, man, if you know what I mean! My inflatanabbot gives it two big plastic thumbs up!"

--(submitted by anonymous): "Electric…

From the 27 NEWSFIRST newsroom ...

At 6:07 AM, a CRJ-200 Regional Jet Leaving Blue Grass Field in Lexington Bound for Atlanta Crashed at Blue Grass Field, killing 49 people.

Comair President: "Our number one priority is taking cares of the families affected by this."

Flight 5191, with a reported Crew of 3 and 47 Passengers, is Reported to Have Incurred 'Significant Fatalities'. Crew members names have been confirmed as Capt. Jeffrey Clay, first officer James Polehinke and flight attendant Kelly Heyer.

The lone survivor, Comair flight first officer, James Polehinke, is at UK Hospital in critical condition.

Kissed on the cheek by Christ

I saw Jesus today.
Under some trees by the Arby's
with alcohol and cigarettes and who-knows-what-else on the breath
and grateful arms reaching out
and lips kissed my cheek.

All I had was a too small offering
for Christ
whom I found there
under those trees,
waiting for me
with hope
to see if I was as good as my parking-lot word.

You just never know, these days, if someone's word is true,
so it was with true joy
that Christ greeted me
as I brought
a flimsy
Walmart bag:
trail mix,
coca cola
and some granola bars and a
ten dollar bill.
Not gold or frankincense or myrrh,
just easy-to-carry food
on a too-hot Kentucky day.

Small offering indeed for the
King of Kings,
who had not showered in days
and alcohol, cigarettes on the breath.

But Jesus kissed my cheek
and I did not realize it
until blogging
I saw a picture of a Greek priest
giving greeting.

And I realized that even in Kentucky
kissing means something.

And I am utterly unworthy
for such an embrace
and for the rest of the day
my energ…

The Annual Blog Post about Biscuits

OK, so I'm a biscuit lover, but I don't eat them very often at all. I especially like making biscuits. Somehow the process reminds me of all my foremothers in their kitchens doing the same thing. It's southern, and I'm sure many of them did.

And there are two types of biscuits: the kind that turn out flat and crispy and the big fluffy kind (think McDonald's). For years mine have always turned out flat and crispy, and very very tasty, but I longed to be able to produce the big fluffy kind.

I'm too good for recipes, don't get me wrong. They have their place, but not in the creation of biscuits.

And this morning I had that necessary "duh!" moment of biscuit-making bliss: baking soda and clabbered milk!

The gal that taught me to make biscuits in college just showed me with self rising flour, shortening and milk. So that was the basis of my biscuit making for all these years. But I never had self rising flour and always added baking powde…


It's one of the better things in life, especially when you choose a few perfectly ripe avocados as the market. You get home, unload the groceries. There sit those three ripe green fruits on the counter. Ready. Waiting. Desiring with all their little brown hearts to become what God intended.

So, out comes the knife, but there is hardly any cutting. The skin slips right off. Then it's hands, loving hands that pull the flesh from the pit. Time to joyfully lick the fingers!

A little salt, and little bit of lemon juice, and some mushing with a fork.

And then comes the hard part: self control. I could totally down that whole container of guac in one setting. But about a sixth of it is a reasonable portion so I force myself to make do. I blog about it instead.

It seems like the existence of lemons, and avocados and salt, and the possibility for guacamole to exist in the universe is sufficient proof that God exists. Sure such goodness could not happen by accident, now co…

Blogger sounds like

blooger sounds like know how my mind works....

Going out of my mind

from being hungry.

It's only ten forty in the morning, and I sort of have a personal rule not to eat until eleven. I've been hungry since ten. I hate being hungry. HATE being hungry. And now it's getting worse than hungry. Shakes. Crashing. Blech.

Did I not eat enough breakfast? A pot of half-caf coffee and a piece of low carb coffee cake. It's not like I'm a great athelete who needs loads of calories. Perhaps it was the caffeine. At any rate, I'm starting to get shaky and I am having to re-type half this drivel.

OK, that qualifies. I'm getting some food. Protein to be exact.

I hate being hypoglycemic. Yeah, yeah, yeah...this too is somehow redemptive.

Longing for Koinonia

I wish I lived in a community where I could sit out on my front porch and pick my guitar of an evening and have friends come walking down the street, stop and join me for some human fellowship. I wish I could offer iced tea, lemonade, or a glass of wine and a good discussion could follow: Koinonia.

I wish I had the ability to dig in the dirt with my fellow humans, but alas, the community garden is thirty miles away, so we don't participate.

I wish there were a way to share my table with others and offer hospitality, say compline together before going or separate ways.

I hate hate hate having to drive forty-five minutes to get to Church. I hate the way we are all so isolated. I always greet my neighbors when I'm out walking and I know they recognize me: I"m the one who's lost so much weight and they are all speculating how much and if I'll loose more. I know because people have asked me. But no one knows my name and I don't know anyone's name and t…

It's funny

how I can be going along so well, and then suddenly things change and I change, or revert back to old habits or whatever. In this case, I find I am having to fight myself tooth and nail not to go back to old gaining-weight eating habits. I know it must be the stress. Hopefully I can get through this, and keep my beloved lost forty off. That's the plan. But it's a daily battle.

As soon as dinner is digested, I need to go do my "daily necessary" (three mile walk) and the thought of doing it on a full stomach this late in the day is yech.

The reason I missed my regular walking time was errands: My daugter got glasses and her first exclamation was: "Wow, I can see blades of grass!" I think her life will be much improved as a result. And, she looks cute.

So, here's my low carb meatball recipe, for anyone who might be interested:

finely chopped onion
1 pound very lean ground beef
1 pound turkey sausage
two cups of finely chopped pork rinds

A good cure

for that hair pulling high anxiety PMSy feeling is hands-and-knees cinderlla-style floor and cranny scrubbing.


I hate dirt, which is why I never do anything about it.

Homeschooling is Work!

And I sure do feel it at the end of the day. But things are so peaceful, and lessons are happening in such gentle ways that I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit at work.

And I am still managing to go for long walks regularly and keep up with the grass cutting (bushes still need trimming, though) and keep the house decent. The kids are a tremendous help in that regard and I'm glad to allow them to earn their allowance.

But at the end of the day I'm TIRED. And I hurt more than I had been. Part of that is the job hunt stress, which dh ways is getting on his nerves, and part of it is my new "job".

Today I made coffee cake for everyone's breakfast, including a separate low carb sugar free version for me, and homemade sugar free mayo and cooked up some chicken for chicken salad (hence the need for mayo) to have on hand. I'm thinking one factor in increased pain levels is all the bread I've been eating lately. Those carbs make a difference, or so they sa…

Please say a prayer

for Wes' continued job search and my continued sanity. Especially that he not get discouraged now that the initial burst of energy is wearing thin.

Good news for today is that our health coverage extends to the end of September. After that, hopefully we'll have an income to buy our own, which won't cost much more than what we are paying now.

Don't even mention COBRA...that's more than twice as much.

He's applying like crazy all over the's just that them wheels do turn slowly.

Through the prayers of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and St. John the Wonderworker, may the Lord have mercy on us, amen.

Oh, I'm so WARPED!


Are you TIRED of your undisciplined thought life?


Do you SECRETLY WISH you had joined a monastery?

ARE YOU CONVINCED that if you were a monastic it would be SO MUCH EASIER TO PRAY?????

Well, weep no more, because PLASTOCHRISTODOULOS, Inc. has the SOLUTION FOR YOU!!!!!:

For only 3 easy payments of $19.95 (Alaskan) or $25.95 (Canadian) you can become the proud owner of our newest spiritual growth enhancement product, the INFLATANABBOTT (tm) and for women the INFLATANABBESS(tm)!

Your ABBOT/ABBESS-product comes in a discreet brown package, delivered directly to your door via your national postal service. No one has to know but you!

After you blow up your INFLATANABBOTT(tm) it can be dressed in our authentic monastic garb (sold separately).

Your INFLATANABBOTT(tm) product is guaranteed to bring your spiritual life to a new level! No longer will you only have your drab parish priest to complain to!!! You can complain to your INFL…

First Day of School

Right now they are all neatly sitting at the table doing their math lessons. The Dishwasher is emptied and their beds are made, and I have a load of laundry going.

We said morning prayers and DD1 is at the bus stop.

And the air has a crisp, faux-fall tinge to it (it never really gets cool until October around here) lending further distinction to the day.

Now I'd best get off here and see what can be done by way of science and social studies for later on.


The lowest place is filled with water,
and is covered with the water
and the water is all that is seen.
Water always descending.

Spirit of God
Always descending
Filling the lowly
Covering the humble.
Where nothing is seen above the surface
Earth becomes the vessel
and life comes forth

To become that lowly place
that covered vessel
hidden and secret
like the god-bearing womb
of the yea-saying handmaid

Still touched by water
the mountain
sails to the sky
falling drops
each gentle touch
infinitesimally eroding
not yet a vessel
but there is hope

To what effect?

How much time do we waste doing silly and frivolous things instead of things that will bring us closer to God?

I phrase this in the "We" but I really mean "me".

I watch DVD's at night, or read novels. Is it any harder to pray the psalter? I think not. It's just a matter of choices. I blog. Is it any harder to commune with God and intercede before his throne? Again, a matter of choices and blind preference, of comfort. Of lazyness.

How much has my behavior stymied my hard pursuit after God?

How much has my own sinfulness and lack of repentance, my own laziness and comfort-seeking prevented me from pursuing God with all my heart.

The truth of the matter is, I have HOURS a day that I could spend devoted to prayer, and still homeschool and still do my house work, and still read to the kids, train the and raise them and still spend time with the people God brings my way.

I want to please my Heavenly Father. I want to draw near to Christ. I need to do t…

Cat Pee

So, I go to put away a basket of clean laundry that's been sitting around folded and ready to put away for a few days and discover to my great dismay that our cat (the one who pees in the closet) decided to pee in that basket of laundry as well. I think it's the neutered male cat doing this.

How lovely.

Now I get to try and get cat urine odor out of some of my best clothes. Borax, enzymes, vinegar rinse....

More to the point: How to get the cat to stop doing this? I can change my behavior and stop leaving tempting baskets full of laundry lying about...but how to change his?

Nasty cat.

At least the mouse problem is mostly taken care of.

Nasty lazy cat.

Second Hand

Please go read this article about second hand clothing making its way to Africa and having a huge effect on local economies over there.

What do you think?

Allergic Reactions

Last Holy Week I had a bad allergic reaction to peanuts. Subsequently I tested positive at the allergist to peanut and tree nuts and I now carry an epi pen. Much to my relief I was NOT allergic to soy.

Today I ate a soynut butter sandwich on whole wheat sugar free bread with some artificial honey (maltitol, artificial know, sugar free honey for those of us who can't have sugar).

And I had an allergic reaction very very similar to my peanut reaction, only an eeensy bit milder. Itchy mouth, coughing, nausea (but no vomiting), itchy face, wrists and scalp and tingling lips.

I've eaten wheat since then with no ill effects. The most likely culprit of course is the soy.

My debate: do I call the allergist, or do I just start avoiding soy? It's not like he'd be able to DO anything but tell me to avoid it...

And from what he said last May when I visited him, it IS possible to suddenly turn allergic to something. Afterall, that's precisely what happene…

Salvation at my Sewing Machine

Seems I just can't get away from having sewing projects to do.

Someone asked me today if I could custom sew some clothes for an elderly person who has a hard time finding comfortable gowns that fit her narrow shoulders.

And it seems I"ll be teaching a couple of girls, who have a penchant(or at least a yen) for fashion design how to sew this fall...the opportunities just fell in my lap. One of the moms is bartering piano lessons for sewing lessons. That sounds grand to me. Another contacted me today. Serendipity.

Today I got out an old piece of machine embroidery I've had unfinished forever, and ripped out some parts I did not like and did a re-do. It's a 29"x15" panel with roses sketched on it in zig zag stitch, edged in wine red. And I am thinking of adding the words: Rejoice O Virgin Theotokos...etc. around the edges but am wondering if this would sort of be tacky. My own personal "velvet elvis" if you will.

I think I'll leave the…

All in a day's work

The tricky part was cutting the lace along the design line to get a scalloped effect for the back egdges. Snip....Snip....Snip....Snip.

And in blue:

These are for someone else. I'm still debating how much to charge.

Fish, wine and oil

Package of frozen whiting. Thaw in microwave: 8 minutes for the bag, 1 mintues per piece of fish. Then, rinse each piece under warm water to get rid of any leftover ice crystals.

Dredge in flour. (or cornmeal)...but don't contaminate your flour cannister by sticking the fish directly in there. Dish some flour into a 9x13 or onto a plate or something before sticking the fish in it.

Pour about 1/2 inch oil into skillet. Get it nice and hot.

Carefully lay the fish into the skillet. I can fit about four pieces at a time in my cast iron. Don't stick your finger into the hot oil like I did.

Let the fish cook until golden on the bottom. Turn carefully so you don't splatter yourself with hot oil, using spatula and fork.

Let it cook until golden on that side as well.

Remove to a plate covered with a couple of layers of paper towels.

Pour glass of wine.

Give thanks to God and think of John 21.

Enjoy! Two pieces is a dinner for me.

wanting to do great things for God

I'm just feeling out of sorts and lonely. I know it comes from the current job transition happening in our lives, and that has spurned lots of imaginings, what if's and questions. I suppose it's good to evaluate the big questions and decisions in life at times, but the truth is, I feel so inadequate and helpless in so many many ways.

We were going to be missionaries! Do great things for God! Go to Viet Nam!. Instead we had kids and became just another statistic on debt in America, no matter how much we tried and how much we tried not to be. Instead we come smack dab up against shocking grief, pain and loss.

Then we were going to trust God for our family size and "really be a witness" in that way. Yeah, whatever. Instead we ran smack dab into physical illness, a back injury and financial constrictions.

Then we were gong to adopt a special needs baby. But that door slammed shut in our face as well.

Pathetic. And on some level I suppose I'm still grie…

Expect the unexpected

Like yesterday when I walked past the coat closet, and sniff, sniff, sniff...smelled something malodorous and suspicious. Lord have mercy!

A good cleanout revealed cat poop. I just can't keep my fabric stash on the floor back there. Earlier this summer it was cat pee, and I lost about half my stash. Yesterday it was poop. I had to run some winter hats and scarves and a couple of jackets through the wash that had spilled onto the floor, and I lost all my pattern tracing paper and fabric stash. There was only one cat gift, along with some peed on items, but still...enough is enough. And it's not like we don't have TWO regularly cleaned out cat boxes, either.


But at least we no longer have a mouse problem.

I cleaned it all up, and sprayed boundary spray, which must have some of the same stuff in it as Round Up because they smelled the same to me, and both left me gagging, unlike the cat poop.

As hot as the summer has been, I doubt we'll start needing t…

Going to the Dogs

This is such a cool article about Autism Assitance Dogs. I just had to share the link here.

Whenver I read about service dogs I think that it's a manifestation of healed communion between God and humans and animals. Beautiful. The way it should be.

...not that I'm about to rush out and get a dog or anything like that...

Birthday Bonanaza!

Two babies, 363 days apart. We brought dd home from the hospital on my son's first birthday. Here they are, seven and eight years old now. What blessings!

Awake to the Kingdom of God

In my better moments I believe that it is a more secure place, to be poor and in physical need but constantly aware of one's dependance only on God for all things: material, spiritual, one's emotional well being...all of it, than it is to be materially "secure" and to be spiritually asleep and complacent and unaware or uncaring of God and His providence.

In my better moments. In my lesser moments I'm like: AUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH!LordhavemercyLordhavemercyLordhavemercy!
Freakoutfreakoutfreakout. I think I spend half of each night lying awake and praying.

Dh resigned from his job last Friday. And no, he does not have another one to go to...yet. He works until the end of the month. So there's a little time. Only a little.

And it's like Thecla said at church yesterday: "Well, it's not like you're gonna die!" So true, so true. I do keep thinking of worse things, just to keep myself together: like getting mauled by pit bulls, or one o…

Please pray for our family

Don't really feel free to be more specific, but we can use all the prayer we can get right now.

And Jesus said: 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Matthew 6: 25-26

More Small Spaces

Our living room is not very big. We've had various arrangements over the years, but right now I'm particularly happy with it. This is looking in from just inside the front door.

And from the opposite side of the room.


My newly organized and "created" desk area. I'm so proud. St. Catherine watches over our homeschool. The other icons are St. Anna holding Mary, and of course the Holy Virgin holding Jesus. I stole the plastic stacking cubes from upstairs, and I mostly hate anything plastic in the living room, but they will have to serve for now.

Small Spaces

Well, I've been hard at work (mostly yesterday afternoon after recuperating from that stomach bug) doing things in my house.

My ten year old came to me and said she wished that she had her own room. Well, a family of six living in a house built in 1942 with two bedrooms downstairs and an upstairs that was formerly known as "attic" can't really provide each kid their own room. The stairs would be a feng-shui afficianado's nightmare, and it's a good thing we don't care, because if our front door is open and you are looking in, the space is disected, less than an inch of room to spare for the door, by the wall of our stair way. So you see half the stair way from the front door. Right there, in your face.

Upstairs on the right is one of those big rooms formerly-known-as-attic, and on the left is a very convoluted (and messy) walk-through closet with less-than-ideal space utilization that leads to a little room on the other end of the upstairs. Lots of …